Asking for things often comes with a feeling of vulnerability—Will they refuse? Am I being greedy? Did I actually form a sentence or just whimper incoherently? The act of asking is something that opens you up for a potential loss. Yet without it we have nothing to gain.
A while ago I went for lunch with my dad, his partner and my girlfriend. We had food, drinks and a jolly old time. Over to my left was a party of people enjoying a large sharing platter of food (which looked absolutely delicious, by the way). I noticed after they’d left that there was a huge amount of their food still left on the table with no conceivable destination other than the bin. I stared, I longed, I fantasized.
I drew everyone’s attention to said delectable leftovers and mentioned that I’d happily eat it if it wasn’t an act that could potentially get me kicked out of both the venue and my relationship. My dad’s partner stood straight up out of her seat and approached the bar; I timidly watched as she pointed over to the food, then to me. She then brought over the massive tray of leftovers to our table, saying that the waiter was more than happy for us to finish off what remained.
I was absolutely flabbergasted. Who has the confidence to just plain ask for something like that?! A very impressive lady, I’ll have you know—and one who inspired me to write this article.
“If you don’t ask, you’ll never know!” she always says.
So, first of all—thank you, Maggie. The food was delicious, albeit far greater in volume than I should have tried to fit into my stomach (I managed, just FYI), and your sage advice has truly stuck with me. I now take delight in asking for anything and everything—the worst thing that can happen is that you simply do not get what you’ve asked for. Now, obviously there are some situations where this may require a lot more thought than others, but essentially Maggie’s mantra is true.
As I have built confidence in my ability to ask for things, I have managed to take a step back and congratulate myself on learning how to ask for help when I’ve truly needed it. I sought out a counselor to help me try and make sense of some internal difficulties I’ve been facing, and I frequently ask my partner both for help with day-to-day tasks and for support when things just get to be too much. And I wouldn’t have gotten any of it had I not asked.
I cannot begin to count the amount of times I’ve been given a task to do in my past and completely botched it due to being too embarrassed or afraid to ask for help. Admitting that you don’t understand something or need a leg up isn’t a sign of weakness, and people are much more willing to help when you are honest and ask for it.
It’s extremely difficult to open yourself up and ask for help; it’s almost like having to admit defeat. But chances are, whatever you need—be it help with a tough task at work or just a butt-tonne of free sliders—ask and you just might receive.